ALBANY – A study investigating the feasibility of expanding high-speed internet across New York State has hit a roadblock.
On Monday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo used a ‘pocket veto’ to halt the measure part of the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act proposed by State Senator George Borrello.
Borrello says he is incredibly disappointed by the move, saying the study would have helped pinpoint areas truly in need.
“This pandemic has laid bare the inequities and gaps in broadband access that remain a reality in many upstate regions,” said Borrello. “Residents and schoolchildren who lack this essential technology are being left behind educationally, economically and socially.”
In Cuomo’s State of the State Address, the Governor touted that 98 percent of the state now has reliable internet access, something Borrello disputes.
“That figure has been repeatedly discredited by community-level surveys undertaken by local governments, by advocates such as Common Sense media which found 27 percent of New York’s schoolchildren lack access, and by a large, bi-partisan contingent of state and federal officials who have cited the inaccuracy of using census blocks as the metric to determine broadband coverage in a given region,” furthered Borrello. “Suppressing this study and continuing to increase burdens on broadband providers with excessive taxes, fees and regulations is actually widening the digital divide in our state and denying critically important educational and economic opportunities to our children and residents.”
Last month the Senator joined other lawmakers in releasing a plan to expand broadband access through the region by tapping into a 115-mile fiber optic line runs from Whitesville in Allegany County to Jamestown in Chautauqua County.